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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Free Speech - HotCopper Style

MobyT | 11:09 AM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment
Got this today.  Seems a few people have been stepping close to the line and HotCopper sez "it's not fair".  According to HotCopper, speech should be free (no matter what?)  - except perhaps when they don't agree with it.

Anyway, what chance do you think I have of dipping into the HotCopper Fighting Fund to fight the arguably illegal restriction of my speech on HotCopper?
Dear (name withheld),
You are probably aware that from time to time people take issue with comments that are made on HotCopper. Indeed, sometimes legal action is threatened or taken against members because of statements they have made here. You may have even seen this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sometimes, we think that when this happens it is unfair, and a restriction on the right of Australians to engage in free speech. We know a lot of you think the same way because you've been contacting us and telling us so.
In fact, some of you have asked is there a way that you can donate money to a fund that can be used to help members in financial need to pay for lawyers' fees.

We have therefore set up a discretionary trust called The HotCopper Fighting Fund. If you wish to donate to the fund, see the details below:
Nice to see HC has a pet and very tame journo at SMH.  I wonder if this means HC's G-M isn't going to move to the USA (where Ron Paul lives) after all, to try to escape the 'relentless pressure from lawyers'?

Anthony Watts Spins a Yarn and Tries to Hide the Consensus

Sou | 10:32 AM Feel free to comment!
Anthony Watts tries to hide the scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming and with good reason.  He knows that studies show that when people realise that virtually all climate science and related research points to the fact that humans are causing global warming, then people are more inclined to want to do something about it.  Mitigating global warming goes against everything Anthony holds dear.

Knowing there is scientific consensus engenders support for action on climate

This is from a news release from Michigan State University about a study Anthony writes about:
U.S. residents who believe in the scientific consensus on global warming are more likely to support government action to curb emissions, regardless of whether they are Republican or Democrat, according to a study led by a Michigan State University sociologist.
However, a political divide remains on the existence of climate change despite the fact that the vast majority of scientists believe it is real, said Aaron M. McCright, associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology.

WUWT Tries to Deny the Consensus

In writing about the above study, Anthony tries his best to deny the scientific consensus, writing:
But, we all know that 97% consensus talking point is simply based on a handful of actual climate responding to a broad questionnaire combined with some statistical spin to give the desired result. 
No - that's wrong! Anthony studiously avoids mentioning other studies, like Naomi Oreskes who looked at 928 papers and found not a one that disputed the anthropogenic causes of the current global warming.  She writes how she tested to see if the various scientific societies and the IPCC were downplaying legitimate dissenting options:
That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).
The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.
Admittedly, authors evaluating impacts, developing methods, or studying paleoclimatic change might believe that current climate change is natural. However, none of these papers argued that point.
Nor does Anthony look at the science or list a single paper from the millions listed in a Google Scholar search on climate change that in his view might defy the 'consensus'.  It's all hand-waving.  Tony shows he is a real, dinky-di, genuine fake skeptic.

Denier Double-Think

The reaction from the deniers? Well, here's some double-think from Richard deSousa who can't seem to make up his mind if there is or isn't such a thing as scientific consensus (it can't be flawed if there's no such thing!) and says:
April 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm  There is no such thing as Scientific Consensus in science! There have been too many past examples of scientific consensus being flawed!
Richard, make up your mind.  If there's no scientific consensus then it can't be 'flawed'.  If there is scientific consensus, they who is going to say it's flawed?  Not the scientists - after all, if there is scientific consensus then its the scientists who are in consensus.  So that leaves only a bunch of deluded deniers from WUWT.  Ha!

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Utter Nutter: Anthony Watts has "Gone Lysenko" in a Bout of Recursive Fury

Sou | 11:00 AM Feel free to comment!
Anthony Watts comes up with two nutty conspiracy theories in one day on WUWT.

Anthony Watts is in Full On Whacko Conspiracy Theory Mode

Research suggests that conspiracy ideation is (weakly) linked to rejection of science. Today Anthony Watts has 'come out' as a whacky paranoid conspiracy theorist of the Lysenko kind.  See below for his whacky paranoid conspiracy of the Lewandowsky kind.

Anthony is touting the "Lysenko" theory.  At its extreme this theory is that climate science is a hoax that involves:

  • hundreds of thousands of scientists keeping a 'secret'
  • millions of scientific observations and experiments being coordinated across space and centuries and disparate scientific disciplines and "faked" so well that results all point to the same conclusion
  • cooperation by all nations, including nations at war with each other, of opposing ideologies, whether democratic, autocratic or somewhere in between
  • all scientific publishing houses as well as all the world's mainstream media keeping the 'secret'
  • the majority of ordinary laypersons in every nation in the world.  Seven generations of the majority of the world's population are members of this secret cult and have managed to keep a secret from seven generations of the eight per cent of the population, since the early 1800s.

Click here for an example of how such people think (it's not as uncommon as one might think).

About the paranoid conspiracy theory of "Lysenko-ism"

Lysenko was a Stalinist bureaucrat who, by coercion and worse, prevented genetic research in agriculture - particularly in relation to plant breeding.  Anthony is promoting a whacky "Lysenko" conspiracy theory that's going the rounds in various guises - this time in Forbes in relation to climate science.  (The theory can be adapted to any subject with which paranoid conspiracy theorists disagree.  For example - feminism is also a Lysenko Plot!)

What Tony thinks?

Here are some excerpts from WUWT:
  • This same practice of Lysenkoism has long been under way in western science - I don't know how they explain the same results being obtained in all nations of the world
  • billions from government grants and neo-Marxist environmentalist largesse, and official recognition and award - note the similarity of language with this post and the obsession with money.  If only scientists themselves got some of those "billions" - they could retire!
  • promoting vastly increased government powers and control over the private economy. - now we get to the heart of the matter, suggestive of extremist 'right wing' nuttery
If you took Tony for something of a nutter, now you can see just how much of a nutter he really is.

More evidence that Anthony has completely "lost it" and is just an utter nutter

From Greg Laden - Tony is demonstrating Lewandowky-style recursive fury:

The Recursive Fury paper explores how conspiracy theories evolve as hard facts emerge.

Anthony writes a "smear" article about Professor Lewandowsky.  As Simon Donner has noted, it is reminiscent of The Onion.

Anthony moans about papers co-authored by Professor Lewandowsky that explore connections between conspiracy ideation and (climate) science denial.  Conspiracy theorists don't like such things being examined so they make up conspiracy theories! Anthony adds to the weight of evidence.

Professor Lewandowsky won a grant from the prestigious Royal Society and a 'mobility award', which requires him to relocate from UWA to Bristol University.  Anthony spins this move as a "furtive exit", conspiracy ideation much!.  When a commenter makes clear that the move is required, Anthony doesn't step back and say - Oh - it's for research purposes.  Oh no, instead he evolves his conspiracy theory to "following the money".  Doubling down on "conspiracy ideation".  (As someone has pointed out, the move won't necessarily involve more "money".)

You couldn't wish for a better example of recursive fury in action!

(Can't help wondering if Anthony thinks Foxgoose's "complaint" - namely "they got my conspiracy theory wrong" is his version of "professional".)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hansen on CBC - plus WUWT HotWhopper of the Day: Wood is a Fossil Fuel

Sou | 1:23 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

WUWT-ers are up in arms about Dr James Hansen appearing on CBC and reasserting that: if nothing is done to stop Canada's oilsands development it will be "game over for the climate,".   They were particularly incensed by Hansen saying about the Canadian Government: "Well, the current government is a Neanderthal government on this issue...".

Speaking of the advances of Neanderthals, this WUWT comment caught my eye.  Did you know that wood is a fossil fuel and that burning it is what 'created fire'?:

Kenty Blaker says:April 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm  While the global warmists complain about the burning of fossil fuels they never coment (sic) on the fact that it was the burning of wood (a fossil fuel )that created fire. Without fire where would we be?
You learn something new every day!

Here's the interview with James Hansen from CBC News:


Saturday, April 27, 2013

More WUWT Denier Weirdness: Long Time Passing...

Sou | 2:08 PM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment
Or...Where have all the "warmists" gone? 
justthefactswuwt says:
April 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm
dbstealey says: April 26, 2013 at 8:15 pm  I would save that excellent and fun question to sandbag the next presumptuous Warmist commenter pretending to pass himself off as a climate expert....It would be even better asked in person!
I can’t even get a Warmist to comment on my threads these days, there has to be someone out there who can explain how this all ties back to anthropogenic CO2 emissions… I wonder if the Warmist blog troll funding is drying up…


Sandbagging? Warmist blog troll funding? Paranoid conspiracy theorising much?

jtfw only needs to ask Smokey/dbstealey or Anthony Watts.

Everyone who has the temerity to make a sensible, knowledgeable comment about climate science is automatically banned from WUWT.  If not immediately, then eventually.  Usually with the most scathing comment Anthony's little mind can come up with, viz: "Anonymous Coward".  But the Anonymous Coward tag is a last resort when, despite his best googling efforts, Anthony can't find and post their name, current employment and personal contact details as he bans them.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Unreasonably "Reasonable" - Uncertainty is No Monster - Live with It or Die by It

Sou | 6:00 PM Feel free to comment!

Or ... Why Judith Curry is Wrong

A major bushfire is heading straight for your home, getting bigger and faster and fiercer by the minute, fueled by wind and dry vegetation. The fire front is about 900 meters away. You can hear the roar, it's creating its own wind. You can see the glow through the thick pall of smoke that's covered the sky. The daylight is a weird colour, orange-pink - almost peach-coloured. You can't breathe properly, it smells of burning leaves. You can see the embers falling ahead of the fire. You can hear the loud bangs as trees explode in the heat and flames. You know from past fires something of what to expect, including the unexpected.

Your sister from a city a thousand miles away phones you and says, "It's not certain the fire will hit you, is it?"  Sis has always had a Pollyanna streak.  She is afraid for us and is seeking reassurance.

The weather bureau reports a 30% probability of a change in wind direction but not until some time later in the day, with a 10% probability of light rain.

Which of these responses would you regard as 'sensible'?
  1. Dump tonnes of kerosene in the fire's path, leaving a trail of kerosene leading straight to your back door?
  2. Don't take any action at all.  Wait until you have more information?
  3. Send out helicopters, fire trucks with fire retardant to try to contain the blaze and pack up your car with family members, pets and whatever you can grab and get the hell out of there?
Too many people argue for the first response.  Keep adding fuel to the fire.  Keep pouring CO2 into the atmosphere.  Wait until it's 100% certain that the wind won't change in time and stop the fire's momentum.  Continuing to add fuel to the fire is the way to go until we can better 'scope' the uncertainty, they will argue.

A few people will argue for number two.  Don't add any more fuel to the fire but otherwise don't do anything until you know more.  Close all coal-fired power stations immediately.  Shut down the oil refineries.  But don't go building wind turbines or electric vehicles.  Don't plan for higher sea levels. Don't go changing building codes.  Don't shore up water storage for future droughts.

Others will argue for the third option.  Change the source of energy away from fossil fuels and adapt to what climate change will bring.  Minus the "getting the hell out of there".  (People who live in the bush will have their fire plan ready each summer, their valuables and pet cages at hand, their fire retardant clothes in their emergency kit along with a mask and water, and their fire escape route planned out.)  

What do you think about that?  What path would you recommend?

Nowhere else to go

Where I live there's a new classification of Code Red = Catastrophic fire warning.  Code Red is beyond Extreme.  When this is announced people are supposed to leave the area (not mandatory).  Problem is, there's usually nowhere within 500 km that isn't in the Catastrophic fire zone.  Just like with global warming.  We've only got one earth.

Seeking reassurance

Many climate science deniers appear to reject the evidence because they react like Sis did.  They want reassurance.  So much so that they seek it out.  They lap up disinformation and hoard it like gold.  They avoid or dismiss unpalatable facts as "alarmist".  They can't cope with 'alarm'.  Studies suggest the conservative brain is more responsive to fear.  Although this confers some advantages it can also impede reason, resulting in poor judgement and 'wrong' decisions.

There is always uncertainty

As anyone who's done any planning will tell you, there is always uncertainty. Uncertainty is not a monster.  There is almost never only one "right answer".  When facing something like a bushfire or climate change, the "wrongest" answer is to not act at all.  Societal paralysis while climate change continues unabated.  Geological history gives us insight into what to expect, including the unexpected.  If we waited for 100% certainty about everything in the future, we'd never get out of bed in the morning.

The "wrong" answer

To not act is as deliberate a decision as acting based on information at hand.  It is the wrong response.




Quit Shooting the Messenger!  Demand Leadership from Leaders!

This post was inspired by reactions to Judith Curry's recent written and oral testimony to a US House of Reps subcommittee.  For example:
Shifting goal post alert: The real question that must be settled before any policy actions are taken to address the postulated threat from human-induced global warming is ....(insert shifting goal posts here)
Strawman construction 1:...suggesting (to me) a much more cautious approach to emissions reduction than has been adopted in Australia and elsewhere....Of course, I regard “cautious” as not taking extensive and costly action without more convincing evidence as to the merits of such action, others might interpret it as pre-emptive large-scale precautionary reductions.
Strawman 2: ...Those who posit that there is one (a problem), which requires remedial action, have to show empirical evidence that they know what the hell they are talking about – BEFORE they request any action be taken.

And Curry herself, IMO misrepresenting scientific uncertainty, its nature, how it is scoped and quantified, and the relative importance of different aspects of science and the relevance of different aspects to government policy development - and building her own strawmen.  Even though she states clearly up front that humans are causing global warming, she later implies that scientists are wrong to assert that humans are causing global warming, which is the scientific consensus, writing instead:
Given these uncertainties, there would seem to be plenty of scope for disagreement among scientists. Nevertheless, the consensus about dangerous anthropogenic climate change is portrayed as nearly total among climate scientists. Further, the consensus has been endorsed by all of the relevant national and international science academies and scientific societies.
I have been trying to understand how there can be such a strong consensus given these uncertainties....
...When uncertainty is not well characterized and there is concern about ‘unknown unknowns,’ there is increasing danger of getting the wrong answer and optimizing for the wrong thing.
And her over-simplification of decision-making pitfalls mixed with a bright red herring.  No, Judith, neither of these hits the nail on the head:
There are two situations to avoid: i) acting on the basis of a highly confident statement about the future that turns out to be wrong; and ii) missing the possibility of an extreme, catastrophic outcome. Avoiding both of these situations requires much deeper and better assessment of uncertainties and areas of ignorance, as well as creating a broader range of future scenarios than is currently provided by climate models.
I strongly disagree with Curry.  The main situation to avoid is that of waiting till it is too late.  Waiting until options are reduced to all but a few.  Waiting until atmospheric CO2 gets so high that there are no choices left to humanity.  Waiting until climate change wreaks havoc and destabilises economies such that we can no longer afford to take action.  Or worse, waiting until there are no longer coherent societies or stable governments that can see actions through to completion.  There are a myriad of actions that can be taken now, which won't be "wrong" in any sense of the word.

Leaders, take responsibility! Certain science, uncertain policy response

The biggest sin Curry commits is that of pointing her finger at science, rather than at the leaders, the rule-makers, the legislators.  The uncertainty is in the policy response, not the science.  The science is settled more than adequately to inform policy decisions.  Legislators' efforts need to go towards determining what paths to follow, what suite of policy responses and programs to implement.  It's not the science that's uncertain in this context.

Businesses wants a consistent policy direction.  The science is settled but the policy response, where it exists, is fragmented.  The corporate sector hates a policy vacuum.  Investors look for clear guidance.  The community elects leaders to lead, not fiddle while the bush burns. 

Curry confirms that there is a raging bushfire, that we run the risk of it burning down the house.  She can see the fire bearing down.  Everyone else can see the fire raging and heading in their direction.  But instead of calling for a plan of action to deal with the very real fire, she turns around and says:- "Well, maybe that bushfire we can all see bearing down on us isn't real.  It's red and it's hot and it's got flames and lots of white and black and yellow smoke, and it's leaving burnt forests and grasslands in its wake.  Just the same, I think it needs more analysis.  We need more measurements.  We need more temperature readings, to examine the smoke, analyse the smoke particles, confirm that those flames are really flames.  Build another model. We need to make sure it really is a bushfire before we start to think about getting out of its path or putting it out!  Meanwhile, let's add more kerosene."

IMO Judith confirms her adopted role as that of 'delayer', who wants to keep the bushfire burning by pouring tonnes kerosene onto it, under the guise of "waiting for certainty" about what is already certain.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Denier Weirdness: WUWT says Watch Out for the Ice Age!

Sou | 10:11 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

On WUWT today, Anthony Watts has posted an article by Ed Hoskins, who is saying that:
....the reversion of our planet to a real ice age is foreseeable.

Ed doesn't say when he thinks this 'foreseeable' ice age is likely to occur.  Let's see what he bases it on to see if we can get a clue.  Here is some of Ed's "evidence", Central England temperatures (CET) of the past twelve years!  (Click on any chart to enlarge it.)



Ed's got way too many lines in the way to see what he's talking about.  We need to get rid of them to see more clearly.  Here's a cleaner chart of CET for the period 2000-2012 from Met Office data.



As you can see, the temperature for the past decade lies above the 1961-1990 mean, except for 2010 when it dipped below by 0.6 degrees Celsius.  I wouldn't recommend trying to draw any conclusions from Ed's 'trend lines'.

Central England is Getting Warmer

How about we look longer term, going back to the 17th Century.


It got pretty cold at the end of the 17th century, then plateaued from the mid-18th century to the late-19th century, then started going up.  Today's CET temperatures are 2.5 degrees Celsius above the lows of the late 17th century!


Let's look more closely at more recent CET temperatures from 1880 to 2012.


Ice age?  It doesn't look like it.

In any case, you won't be able to tell what's happening globally from temperatures in one location.  Ed picks two - Central England and Greenland.  Two isn't sufficient, either.  Funny how some deniers say that three to six thousand locations aren't enough to see global temperature changes, while others like Ed Hoskins seem to  think one or two locations are ample.

Here's the global land-surface temperature trend from NASA.





About the Central England Temperature Record

The UK Met Office website describes the CET thus:
The CET dataset is the longest instrumental record of temperature in the world. The mean, minimum and maximum datasets are updated monthly, with data for a month usually available by the 3rd of the next month. A provisional CET value for the current month is calculated on a daily basis. The mean daily data series begins in 1772 and the mean monthly data in 1659. Mean maximum and minimum daily and monthly data are also available, beginning in 1878.
These daily and monthly temperatures are representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol.

Ed doesn't seem to know all that much about these data, he writes:
It has not been adjusted as have so many other official temperature records.
In contrast, the Met Office states:
The daily series begins in 1772. Manley (1953,1974) compiled most of the monthly series, covering 1659 to 1973. These data were updated to 1991 by Parker et al (1992), when they calculated the daily series. Both series are now kept up to date by the Climate Data Monitoring section of the Hadley Centre, Met Office. Since 1974 the data have been adjusted to allow for urban warming.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A failed WUWT experiment?

Sou | 7:49 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
I notice the "thumbs" have disappeared from WUWT without fanfare, having survived for barely a day.

Thumb clickers misbehaving

Coincidentally Anthony has blocked HotWhopper @mobyt9 from his twitter feed.  I don't know why, I have never bothered to follow him on Twitter - I want an informative feed. (Maybe it's so he doesn't have to read my 'critiques').

I wouldn't be surprised if Tony thinks that means no-one else can see my tweets :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

PAGES-2K arrives and barely a whimper from the deniosphere

Sou | 7:48 PM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
See update below for some comments on Bob Tisdale's protest (4th WUWT article).

With paleo studies coming thick and fast the deniosphere is finding it hard to keep up.  A paper from PAGES-2k came out in Nature Geosciences only a day ago.  So far WUWT has written three four articles, but with barely a protest (except for a suggestion that Europe = the entire world - and now Tisdale's weak and silly protest below).  Nothing like the furious pace of protest articles and downright silliness that the Marcott study brought out.  I suppose there's time for that. Maybe Anthony is thinking that if he doesn't make too much fuss about scientific evidence it will all just go away and leave him to deny in peace.

Meanwhile the Auditor has bunkered down, obsessing with little details of individual proxies, ignoring the whole picture as usual.  Probably trying to figure out which of the dozens of collaborating institutions he'll pick for his next barrage of vexatious FOIs.  He can mutter in his beard all he wants, but it won't change the past or reverse global warming.

Continental temperatures of the past 2000 years

Now for people who are actually interested in regional and continental temperatures over the past 2000 years:


Study background

Some background from the FAQ: PAGES was formed in 1991 through the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP).  It allowed teams all around the world to join forces and do research on climatic and environmental dynamics by studying the past.  In 2006, the PAGES 2k network was set up to look particularly at the last 2,000 years of data.

There were 78 people from around the world who collaborated in the study, a vast undertaking.  The result is a detailed picture of temperature changes at a regional / continental level all around the world.

From the abstract - a recent reversal of long term cooling:
The most coherent feature in nearly all of the regional temperature reconstructions is a long-term cooling trend, which ended late in the nineteenth century.
At multi-decadal to centennial scales, temperature variability shows distinctly different regional patterns, with more similarity within each hemisphere than between them. There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between AD 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century. The transition to these colder conditions occurred earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than in North America or the Southern Hemisphere regions.
Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period AD 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.


It's getting hot (and the MWP wasn't global)

The issue deniers are zoning in on is the confirmation from more and more scientific sources that periods of warming in medieval times were not synchronous around the world.  The world as a whole didn't get hotter.  Different regions warmed and cooled at different times.  The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) in northern Europe was local not global.

Even though it would be foolish in the extreme to say "the world's got warmer before therefore this time around it's not CO2" - that's precisely what some deniers used to say.  With this and other recent studies they no longer have a leg to stand on in that regard.  That doesn't stop deniers still regurgitating drivel of various different kinds, as seen by these comments from WUWT.

First there's disbelief that it's at least as hot now as at any time since civilisation and a denial that it's the atmosphere that keeps earth warm (how does he think it happens I wonder?):
E.M.Smith says:
April 23, 2013 at 12:56 am So if they show it was clearly warmer in the past, and we didn’t “tip” into a disaster, doesn’t that kind of put a hole in that whole “tipping point” idea…It also seems that they can’t quite accept that natural variation which worked in the past can continue to work today, and have to embrace a new cause (CO2) for modern temperatures. Just a tiny bit tacky…

While Tom tries to downplay the problem:
Tom Harley says:
April 23, 2013 at 1:10 am It’s still just ‘weather’.

And the appropriately name Village Idiot** gets it completely wrong, saying - b..b..b..but what about potatoes in Greenland? Isn't Greenland the whole world?  Didn't the Vikings sail to Greenland via Peru?:
April 23, 2013 at 1:17 am  Of course, it’s an established and accepted scientific fact that the MWP was a worldwide warm period; warmer than the present. We don’t need doubtful proxies, flawed studies or so called climate experts to tell us that. The Vikings grew potatoes on Greenland, for goodness sake!

This chap has his head buried deep in the sand and doesn't seem to 'believe' anything in evidence of past climates, presumably including any MWP:
RCSaumarez says:
April 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Who believes proxy studies?
The last sentence sums up the typical denier.  Show them the instrumental record and they'll say "who believes thermometers".  Show them proxy evidence and they'll say "who believes proxies".   Show them bits of the moon brought back by astronauts and they'll say "it's just cheese".  Well, you get the picture.

Luckily for humanity, only about  8% of people are so "dismissive".

Update 1 

(10:30 pm 23 April 2013)
Bob Tisdale, in the fourth WUWT article about the study puts up a few different figures and, after giving us his usual silly spiel about the oceans causing global warming (they don't, it's mostly our waste CO2), writes:
Now, hasn’t this been one of the arguments by climate skeptics since the hockey stick was introduced—that the hockey-stick appearance is a regional phenomenon? That regional reconstructions show current temperatures have been exceeded in the past in many parts of the globe?
Lets break this down.  Has it been 'one of the arguments of climate skeptics'?  Well, it might have been, who am I to judge.  Fake climate skeptics come up with a zillion silly 'arguments' on a daily basis.  You can see a whole list of them here on SkepticalScience.com (174 and counting).

Have regional reconstructions shown some regions have been hotter in the past?  Umm, probably.  The big worry now is that on average, the entire world is heating up.  That's why it's called "global warming".  (That doesn't mean that every place on earth is getting hotter.  It means the earth as a whole is getting hotter.)

What's happening now is not just one or two warmer regions, with other regions getting cooler and balancing out, so there isn't much change in global average temperature.  What's happening now is that the global average temperature is rising, reversing a global cooling trend.

This is what the authors say in the abstract:
Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period AD 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.
Their study can't say more than that because it doesn't provide the data for all regions going back 2,000 years.  Other studies do that.

Anyway, look below and judge for yourself how many places are heating up.  About the only place that was much warmer for any length of time was Antarctica. The Arctic was much cooler than now.  Asia, North America, South America and Australasia show up the recent heating as a new trend.  Europe had a few warmish spells of shorter duration - maybe as hot as it is now or even for a short time, warmer. Everywhere looks poised to keep on heating up.  And nothing below negates what the paper's authors stated:  The period from 1971 to 2000 was higher than at any time going back nearly 1400 years (at least).  And bear in mind that the temperature rise has continued into the 2000s!  There's no going back now.  The best we can do is slow the heating and hopefully help future generations stop it.

Here is a chart from the supplementary information. (Click image to enlarge.)

**I call Poe.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Wrong Climate Stuff

Sou | 11:54 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment
Apparently a handful or so "clueless geriatric" engineers and astronauts from the Apollo days (not climate scientists) have got together and are publishing some anti-science propaganda about climate.  While they generally agree with the fact that humans are causing global warming, they want to delay action.  They are merchants of doubt and therefore climate science deniers.

(Putting this into perspective, if this survey is any guide, at least 300,000 or more who worked on the Apollo missions, including thousands of engineers, scientists and astronauts, accept and respect climate science.)

To save you reading their gumf, here's a summary:
Global warming is happening, by the way plants love CO2, and it's caused by burning fossil fuels but it might not be all bad and plants love CO2 and sea levels will rise but there's still time and it might be caused by us old fossils and whatever, but we shouldn't start to do anything about it yet because not 100% of everything is 100% known yet and because we're still alive and we don't like taxes and anyway plants love CO2.  Did we say plants love CO2? (mumble mumble.... where did I put my dentures?.... did someone remember to put in the bit about plants loving CO2?...I can say how I hate government now that it pays me a generous superannuation instead of a salary  ... mumble mumble)
Yeah, right! Plants might love CO2 but they don't like drought or extreme heat waves or floods or shifting seasons or wildfires or losing their bird and insect pollinators or shifting plant zones.  Plants can't walk away when conditions get too uncomfortable.  They can't move uphill when it gets too hot if they are already at the top of a mountain.

In support of their 'case' to delay responsible action, about the only people these retired engineers seem able to trot out are  Richard Lindzen (who has tried but failed to show low climate sensitivity) and Roger "not a climate scientist" Pielke Jr. who agrees that humans are causing global warming but is reluctant to do much about it mainly, as far as I can make out, for unfathomable ideological reasons of his own.

Thousands of climate scientists vs a dozen denying engineers

There's no mention of the fact that 97% of the thousands of climate scientists, and other scientists whose research work relates to climate, agree that humans are causing dangerous climate change by burning fossil fuels and other activities.  Or that if we don't start acting now, the consequences will be dire.

Me? I'll go with the 97%.  This is the Critical Decade.

Stick with the specialists

The astronauts are lucky the Apollo missions were managed by specialists in rocket science and space exploration.

Who are you going to call on to find out about climate science? We can thank our lucky stars that climate science is done by climate scientists, not retired engineers and rocket scientists who know nothing about climate.

You can read the answers to some of their questions here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tisdale's Tricks

Sou | 1:13 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment

Global Surface Temperature Changes - Model and Actual

See update below.

Bob Tisdale has an article on WUWT about CMIP5 model outputs for RCP 6.0 for the period 1880 to present.  He puts up this chart:


Looks not bad, doesn't it.  The models have picked up Pinatubo very well.  While they appear to be less closely aligned to earlier periods that is where there is greater uncertainty in the record.  They are pretty close from the mid-twentieth century onwards.   Pity the chart as he shows it has no probability ranges.  (Incidentally, I have no idea of whether the chart is an accurate representation of actual temperature or the CMIP5 model outputs. No reason to doubt it but I haven't checked.)

Choosing the trend

Anyway, Bob decides to see if he can find a way to make it look bad.  So what he does is draw some different coloured 'trend' lines on different sections, one blue line and one red line.  He doesn't seem to bother with proper trend analysis or anything fancy.  All he does is divide the chart into his own segments (eyeballing only based on his comments).  Note how his dividing lines are at peaks and troughs in the record. That pretty well ensures a greater slope for the record than the model output.  He picks start and end points for short sections such that the trend lines for actual and modelled have somewhat different slopes.  That means (he thinks) he can say "aha" and "gotcha".  He seems to be arguing that there should be a perfect alignment at every point on the chart in segments of his choosing.

While some WUWT readers will grab onto the 'gotcha', they'll be the ones who think any article on WUWT (no matter what it is about) means "all the science is wrong".

I think many casual readers of WUWT will be surprised at how close the model output is to the actual record of surface temperature change.

There's a recent article on RealClimate.org discussing models and regional trends - more difficult to model than global trends.  Worth a read.

Post Script:

This post was meant to be just a dig at Bob's fiddling with 'trends'.  But it's probably worth a caution. If you manage to get towards the end of Bob's post you'll read nonsense like this:
Atrocious, horrible and horrendous are words that could be used to describe the performance of the CMIP5-archived climate models during the early warming period of 1917 to 1944. See Figure 7. According to the models, if greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming, global surface temperatures should only have warmed at a rate of about +0.049 deg C/decade. BUT according to the new and improved GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) data, global surface temperatures warmed at a rate that was approximately 3.4 times faster or about 0.166 deg C/decade.
This shows a couple of things.  Firstly, that Bob views surface temperature records as being very 'correct' in the early part of this century, ignoring the larger error bars on the actual data (he doesn't show any), as illustrated below from NASA (green bars):



Secondly, despite blogging about climate for quite some years, Bob hasn't learnt what climate studies show.  He seems to think that greenhouse gases are said to have been the only forcing since industrialisation.  That's not what scientists have found.  In fact, science suggests that earlier last century, although greenhouse gas increases contributed to some extent, other forces dominated.  Here is a chart indicating likely 'natural' and anthropogenic contributions - from SkepticalScience (click image for larger version).  Read more here.


Thirdly, Bob is more hung up on short term 'trends' than on the long term rise in temperature.  He fails to see the forest, being distracted by the leaves on individual trees as they flutter slightly in the breeze. (I even wonder if in Bob's world, he replaces the anomaly with the trend so to speak.  One could speculate that even if surface temperature went up 4 degrees it wouldn't worry Bob. He'd be happy as long as he could compare short term slopes along the way (probably putting the huge rise in temperature down to a magical ENSO "jump").  For example, later on and despite the CMIP5 model being closely aligned with the observed data, Bob still reckons something is wrong because he thinks the 'slope' isn't right. I don't know what he thinks the models are based on (it's physics).)

Finally, what does he mean by "according to the models...should only have warmed..."?  He's looking right at the model output and that's not what they indicate at all.  If anything CMIP5 models indicate there 'should' have been slightly more warming, not less, than was observed in the early part of last century!

So go look at Bob's charts and maps if you want to, but ignore what Bob writes.  He's talking through his hat.

Update

Bob is still complaining for no reason.  He's done another post of the difference between the annual surface temperature anomalies and the CMIP5 model outputs.  His chart shows that for most of the 130 year period, the model was within +/- 0.1 degree Celsisus of the observed annual anomaly.  It deviates as much as +/- 0.2 degrees in the earliest records (before 1930) and in the most recent year.  In my view, that's a remarkably close alignment.  To put this into context, from one year to the next, the observed anomaly can fluctuate by more than 0.2 degrees Celsius!  The models just keep getting better.

The weird thing is that while WUWT-ers will say that the rise of 0.8 degrees Celsius is "nothing to worry about", they will be quick to say that a deviation of model output of less than 0.1 degree Celsius is "shocking".  They are too easily "shocked" and yet not "shocked" enough (about climate change).  (And I guess DB Stealey/Smokey won't be singing his usual song this time.  He won't be asking Bob to show the difference in actual temperature (not anomalies) in degrees Kelvin with the vertical axis from zero.)

Have a read of this for another take on Bob's misrepresentation.  Scroll down to the bottom to get a better view of how close the models are to reality these days.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dissecting Denmor's Denial

Sou | 4:33 PM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Denmor drags out a climate science disinformer


I haven't posted any of the nonsense from HotCopper in a while.  So, courtesy of denmor, a science denier from HotCopper's science and medicine S&M club and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition this is what passes for 'science' among the share trading science illiterati from Australia.  Denmor (who's been featured here before) and Clifford (Cliff) Ollier present a Gish gallop but not so much that we can't cover most issues touched on.

It makes for a long-ish post so if you arrived via HotWhopper's home page, click 'read more' below or click here.  (If you just want to see a pretty neat animation of CO2, jump down here.)

(Subs req'd to read the original thread. Access is free. Head vice recommended.)

As science-loving Tinnitus observes about denmor's 'contribution':
Wow A polemic paper on climate from a prof that doesn't work in climate science....Do people understand actually what a polemic paper is?
 Anyway, here goes....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Knock me down with a Happer! Anthony Watts Builds a Strawman

Sou | 1:44 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA.

Anthony Watts builds another strawman

Anthony Watts of WUWT is running out of things to write about and is recycling.  He picks a quote from Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency's chief economist, about how we are heading for six degrees of warming.  (The IEA is not the only independent organisation warning about this.  Click here for a similar warning from PwC.)

A trip back in time and across the seas

Anthony had to cross the Atlantic and go back in time to get to the Reuters UK website from May 2012 for the uncorrected version of the quote.  He had to go to such lengths in order to avoid US Reuters where the quote was (sort of) corrected. (See below for different versions.)

Anthony keeps a close eye on Joe Romm and there is no chance he doesn't know what he quoted was wrong (six degrees referred to the end of this century, not 2050).

Let Anthony himself prove what I'm alleging. Anthony writes in the same article:
such as the 6c by 2050 Joe Romm claims, when parroting Fatih Birol in Reuters:
Go on, click the Romm article Anthony links to and read it for yourself! Joe Romm claims nothing of the sort.  In the linked article Romm tells you why - and shows how disinformers like Anthony operate. (How many of Anthony's readers click links? None - going by the comments. Update: - one person finally did. How about giving him a thumbs up for encouragement.  Anthony's dismissives seem to object strenuously to facts.)

Here's Eli Rabett on the denier shenanigans before Reuters made the correction.

Anthony Goes to a Non-Expert

Maths has never been Anthony's strong point, neither is climate science.  Instead of going to a climate expert, Anthony goes to a climate science denier and leader of "clueless geriatrics" William Happer, to ask him to work out some sums.

Instead of thinking about different emissions scenarios, Happer waves his magic natural logarithms and pronounces that it would take 12,800 years for the temperature to hit the plus 6 degree mark. (Yes, really! That's what he says. He fudges the climate sensitivity to the lowest he thinks he can get away with (1 degree), assumes a constant increase in CO2 of  2ppm/year, and even then messes up the calculation so badly that he decides that to get to six degrees of warming, CO2 would need to be 25,600 ppm.  I kid you not.)

Anthony writes:
The answer may surprise you
Well, it doesn't surprise me. Happer is not known for getting things right when it comes to global warming. As for Anthony - well, we know he'll publish just about any denier nonsense on his blog to fool the 8% Dismissives.

My Question: Was it worth the trip back in time and all the way to the UK, Anthony, just to prove how reckless you are with the truth (and how clueless Happer is)?

More Questions:
How much will earth warm in the future? It depends on us and which future we choose.

How long before we decide to stop pouring CO2 into the air?  This is the Critical Decade.



The Quote and MisQuotes

What Fatih Birol actually said:
"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet,"
Michel Rose of Reuters first reported:
"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,"

And later, with a correction notice, changed it to:
"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,"

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dunning and Kruger at WUWT

Sou | 7:59 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment
From Darko Butina on WUWT, confusing kinetic energy with IR absorption among other things:
So if you want to find whether there is correlation between CO2 and temperatures, you don’t calculate but you measure daily concentrations of CO2 at the same place where the thermometer is. And what you will find is that it is not there since and cannot be there since it would violate all gas laws. No gas molecule of the open system, as our atmosphere is, can control temperature – it is the other way around – temperature control behaviour of gas molecules. And how do I know that – because I worked twenty years in carbon-based chemistry, used CO2 in chemical reactions and to perform chemical reaction you have to know everything that is known about molecules that are used in that chemical reaction.

The Dunning Kruger Effect in Action 


  1. "...you don't calculate but you measure daily concentrations of CO2 at the same place where the thermometer is". No that's not what you do.  If you do that all you'll see is the changes in local temperatures over time at the site of a single thermometer plus an increase in CO2 that's pretty well the same as at every other place on earth. Butina's assertion is naive in the extreme.  It takes no account of land-ocean-atmosphere as a dynamic system; nor any other forcings or feedbacks; nor how CO2, H2O and other greenhouse gases work.  
  2. "No gas molecule of the open system ... can control temperature - ... temperature control behaviour of gas molecules". Here Butina confuses kinetic energy of air molecules with IR absorption and emission by greenhouse gas molecules.
  3. "I know that because I worked twenty years in carbon based chemistry...you have to know everything about molecules that are used in that chemical reaction". A good example of the Dunning Kruger effect.  Butina draws on his knowledge of "carbon-based chemistry" and "chemical reactions" (from when he worked in the "drug discovery sector") and tries to apply it to atmospheric physics and the physics-based properties of particular gas molecules.  He is unaware of the absorptive properties of greenhouse gases and totally ignorant of any and all climate science.
For more of Mr Butina's errors click here.

Click here for the paper by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Click here for an article explaining the Greenhouse Effect.  It's not perfect but not too bad either.  There's more here in Wikipedia and there's an excellent booklet on the subject by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.



Two questions:

  1. Where does Anthony Watts find these people?
  2. What motivates him to promote such articles, when even Watts own band of science deniers can see they are complete and utter nonsense?

Is this the answer to question 2?


The Rabett Chimes In

Even better, Eli has just posted a lesson for Darko Butina and any other chemist or anyone at all who might benefit from such knowledge.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Denier Weirdness, Begorrah, from WUWT

Sou | 10:58 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment

WUWT gets sillier by the day

See updates here and here below and see this post about Darko's follow up article.

This is not just a silly comment from one of the WUWT rabble. It's from an article in WUWT - at the express invitation of Anthony Watts.

In the article the author, Darko Butina, claims that the global warming isn't real, based on his analysis of the temperature record at a single location, the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland. The dataset used goes from 1844 to 2004.

Darko Butina writes (I've just realised this is the actual title he's given to his twenty page 'paper'. What a laugh!):
Should We Worry About the Earth’s Calculated Warming at 0.7OC Over Last the Last 100 Years When the Observed Daily Variations Over the Last 161 Years Can Be as High as 24 (degrees) C?
Good grief - I guess he's not experienced the Chinook:
In Pincher Creek, the temperature rose by 41°C (74°F), from -19 to 22°C (-2 to 72°F), in one hour in 1962.
And there's more:
So if one wants, for some bizarre reason, to compare two annual patterns then one year can be unequivocally declared as warmer only if each daily reading of that year is larger than each corresponding daily reading of another year:
Really? Here is an example to illustrate what Butina would have you think.  Butina's thesis would be that Week 1 below was not hotter than Week 2 because not every day of Week 1 was hotter than the same day in Week 2.


As more astute WUWT commenters observe:
lsvalgaard says:
April 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm Troed SĂ„ngberg says: April 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm
but claiming that every single day over the year would need to be warmer than every single day another seems to stretch things a bit. If “day”, then why not “hour”, “millisecond” or “three week period”? It becomes quite arbitrary.
More than arbitrary: nonsense. Why not “century”, or “decade” as well? There is no doubt that Houston, TX is hotter than San Diego, CHA, but there are every year days with temperatures below 25F in Houston, but never in San Diego.


How not to determine temperature trends

Let's leave aside the fact that Darko Butina bases his dismissal of global warming on a single location in Northern Ireland. We'll look at how he determines the temperature trend despite having more than 150 years of detailed temperature observations at his disposal:
Can we detect unambiguous warming trend over 161 years at Armagh (UK) in thermometer data? All we need to do is to take difference between the youngest (2004) and the oldest (1844) annual fingerprints and display it as a histogram:
No, that is not "all we need to do".  Taking the difference between same day readings (ie 1st January compared with 1st January through to 31 December compared with 31 December) over two different years will not yield nearly as much information as would a series. In fact, it probably wouldn't tell you anything at all.
By contrast, here is the chart of the mean annual temperature at the Armagh Observatory, plotted with a ten year moving average (red line).  The chart is based on these data:


The data for the above chart were compiled by the same people who compiled the daily set used by the author of the WUWT article.

Does it prove or disprove global warming? Of course not.  It shows the temperature trends at Armagh in Northern Ireland.  It indicates that at Armagh Observatory there was a cooling trend to the 1870s, then a warming trend, then a slight cooling in the sixties and seventies followed by a more rapid warming since the late 1970s.


There's more...

There is a lot of other silliness in the article, such as:
Thermometer reading of 15.1 has several links attached to it that cannot be broken: it is linked to a unique grid point, unique date and time stamp, unique instrument – thermometer and that thermometer to unique symbol (OC). So if someone wants to analyse any temperature trends those trends have to come from thermometer readings; it follows that if thermometer to be used is calibrated using Celsius scale, no datapoint can be older than 1743, follow link to Anders Celsius.
Surely he is not saying that the entire history of Armagh observations were recorded in degrees Celsius? (They weren't.)  Or that degrees Fahrenheit cannot be converted to degrees Celsius?

Put on a head vice if you decide to read the article.

Anthony Watts seems to be getting sillier by the day inviting nonsense like this to his blog.  At least some of the commenters are a bit more discerning than he is.


Update:

Just for fun I subtracted the daily maximum temperatures in 1844 from those in 2004 and took an average of the daily difference for each month.  The result is shown as a chart below. The chart doesn't actually tell us anything much more than that 2004 was hotter in seven months out of twelve in 2004, and by a fairly large margin in February, August and December.


All the chart above suggests is that no two years are ever the same (more precisely, these two years were not the same). To see the trend over time you'd need to look at a time series (as above), not just compare two years of data.

Update 2:

Richard Telford has done some different calculations on his blog.  Worth a look see.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Watt a Bad Memory - Letting the Lynch Mob Loose Again

Sou | 3:27 PM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment
Here is a story that proves itself.  Don Mikulecky writes about how Michael Mann has become a modern hero by being the target of active science deniers like Anthony Watts.  And Anthony denies (twice) and in doing so proves (twice) how he instigates the lynch mob attacks against Michael Mann.

Michael Mann is a Modern Hero

Anthony Watts is gloating about an internet poll on DailyKos at the bottom of an article written over a year ago by Don Mikulecky.  In the article, Don wrote about why he considers Michael Mann to be a hero.  Here is an excerpt:
Michael Mann was not someone who chose his role. Military persons can anticipate the possibility of being in situations where acts of heroism are called for. Scientists are certainly not in the same situation. Or at least, they have not been for a long time. Galileo comes to mind and it was the Church then that made his life one of great sacrifice. In these times the situation has deteriorated so rapidly that few of us have had a chance to evaluate the impact of what is going on. Science is a threat to the dark forces that are moving to control us all. People like Carl Sagan and Stephen jay Gould were out there early on fighting against these dark forces. They did a lot for us. Rachael Carlson and many others were on the front lines. Yet the situation with Professor Mann is something beyond all that. He has become a symbol for what our future is all about and he did not chose his role. No sane person would have.

Watts Up with Watts' Memory?

Anthony has made trashing Michael Mann his life's work.  So much so that he can't remember every time he sets his dogs onto him.  Anthony writes:
Note, this is a poll on the Daily Kos, one of the lefts most influential blogs, and there’s the result. Note that as far as I know, there’s been no freeping of the poll, and WUWT hasn’t mentioned it until Sunday night when I first was informed about it from Tom Nelson’s blog, nor have other climate skeptic blogs promoted this poll that I’m aware of, so I have to think this is what the Kos kids actually think of Dr. Mann.
What an interesting development.

But Anthony did mention it - a year ago when the article first appeared!

Anthony whistled and the lynch mob responded

On 13 March 2012, Watts writes an article about it with the title:
Kos asks about Michael Mann - hero or zero?
And at the bottom of Anthony's article is this:
...And, there is a poll at the end which has some surprising choices.
Update 3/14: One of the comments there is by somebody who posts here regularly, John Sully. He writes:
Anthony Watts posted about this over at his site and told the trolls to come and freep the poll. This is why year after year his site gets voted “Best Science Blog” or whatever.
Mr. Sully please point out exactly where in the 35 words I wrote (the rest are from Kos) in this essay I have “…told the trolls to come and freep the poll.” Otherwise sir, you are a liar. – Anthony
 In the 255 comments are these:
Tom B. says:
March 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm Thanks for pointing this out. Went over there to vote…. Please do the same.

Harold Ambler says:
March 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm I think I’m dreaming. Or this is simply the most satisfying poll I will ever be allowed to be part of.
And many many more in the same vein.  As one astute WUWT commenter wrote at the time:
Phil Clarke says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:17 am  Willis – “People ain’t buyin’ it.”
Actually Willis, from the way the numbers jumped after this post, readers of WUWt ain’t buying it.  Not quite the same thing.

Interesting development indeed!  (Notice that Watts has got more of his mob to vote in the time since his second article was written.)

Update:
Several hours later, the gloat plus all the comments were deleted by Anthony and replaced with:
[self snip] I was given a tip, and didn’t realize that this poll is over a year old and didn’t recall WUWT had previously covered it. Neither did Tom Nelson when he covered it last night, so I withdraw this article as it is not new.
http://t.co/tWap6uCzBe
Apologies to my readers. – Anthony
(Ha! If Anthony hadn't blocked me from his twitter feed, he might have found out sooner.)

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines

You can get  copy of Michael Mann's book from Columbia University Press or Amazon and probably elsewhere.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Anthony Watts is Extremely Hot on China

MobyT | 4:03 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment
There is a new paper out in Geophysical Research Letters: Wen, H. Q., X. Zhang, Y. Xu, and B. Wang (2013), Detecting human influence on extreme temperatures in China, Geophys. Res. Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50285.

Heat Extremes in China

An excerpt from the news release:
WASHINGTON – Humans are responsible for increasingly warm daily minimum and maximum temperatures in China, new research suggests. The study is the first to directly link greenhouse gas emissions with warmer temperature extremes in a single country, rather than on a global scale, according to the paper's authors.
"There is a warming in extreme temperatures over China, and this warming cannot be explained by natural variation," said Qiuzi Han Wen, an author on this paper and a researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Beijing, China. "It can only be explained by the anthropogenic external forcings. These findings indicate very clearly that climate change is not just an abstract number for the globe; it is evident at regional scale."

Watts' UHI Fixation

Anthony Watts writes - you guessed it:
But the only forcing they considered was GHG’s. Nary a word exists in the paper about UHI, urban heat island, station siting, of heat sync (sic) effects.
It's true that the paper doesn't mention UHI. It's likely that is already taken into account as part of the quality control to which the paper refers:
China’s National Climate Center has recently compiled and quality controlled an extensive daily temperature data set [Wu and Gao, 2012]. Records of daily maximum, daily minimum, and daily mean temperatures were collected from 2416 observation stations from 1961 to 2007.
Thing is, if Anthony was correct and the quality control process for some reason omitted to allow for UHI, would one expect the greatest increase in extreme temperatures to be in areas of greatest population growth?


Compare the Maps

Now the maps I've come across don't show population growth but they do show population density.  Let's just look at the maps and compare them to the charts showing trends in the maxima (Tx) and minima (Tn) temperatures in the paper (click images to enlarge).
TXx = annual maxima of daily maximum (TXx) temperatures 
TNx = annual maxima of daily minimum (TNx) temperatures 
TXn = annual minima of daily maximum (TXn) temperatures
TNn = annual minima of daily minimum (TNn) temperatures

Here is a population map from Wikipedia showing that the temperature trends don't align well with areas of greatest population density.

Should we let Anthony know that the population maps of China must be wrong?